With the announcement of multiple Star Wars shows in development over at Lucasfilm and Disney, it’s best to look back on one of the series’ most infamous ideas that never saw the light of day.
During Star Wars Celebration 2005, George Lucas revealed that right after Revenge of the Sith was released, he would begin work on creating a live-action Star Wars show titled Star Wars: Underworld. The show was going to be unlike anything fans had seen from Star Wars, as the show would tell stories that were too mature for the big-screen, along with focusing on new characters and their dark, chaotic lives in the Star Wars universe.
In addition to focusing on new characters, Lucas also wanted to use the show as a vehicle to fill in the gaps of already established characters, essentially adding in backstories to help audiences understand why they become who they are.
It was a risky, bold, and exciting idea for the creators as they could show anything they wanted to in the universe, without being bogged down by the story of the Skywalker saga. Unfortunately, the show was never made and the film series have moved past this since Disney acquired the property.
However, the information we know from the show is too good to pass up so without further ado, here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Canceled Star Wars: Underworld.
15. 200 Writers Were Interviewed For The Show
For a franchise like Star Wars, everything created must be perfect, which is exactly why the show’s creators interviewed as many writers as possible to get a feel for how they could contribute to the show. The show’s creators compiled a wide net of writers they would have loved to have worked with and interviewed as many people as they could, which turns out to be around 200.
These writers came from a variety of places, including the United States, England, Australia, Paris, and even Budapest, which meant that the creators were willing to search every nook and cranny just to find the best possible writers for the show. Ultimately, only a few writers emerged out of the interview process with the job.
14. Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who connections
Lucas and co. clearly wanted to hire the best people in the sci-fi television business, which is why they decided to hire some of the amazing contemporary writers who wrote for shows like Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who. These writers included Battlestar Galactica‘s Ronald D. Moore and Doctor Who writers Matthew Graham and Chris Chibnall.
Using these writers, Lucas wanted to assemble a variety of scripts that tackled various genres while also still adhering to the overarching rules of the Star Wars universe. Since the show was so different from what fans were used to, it made complete sense that the writers on the show came from a variety of writing backgrounds that lent a breath of diversity story-wise.
13. The Show Was Set Between Episode III and IV
Seeing as how the show would follow an anthology-type format, Lucas and the writers thought it would be best to set the show during the most interesting time in the franchise: between Episode III and IV. With the Empire taking over and democracy dissipating, the writers saw it as an interesting point in time to create stories that audiences normally wouldn’t see.
Beyond that, this timeframe was rarely explored in existing Star Wars media and would be the perfect breath of fresh air for fans who had only seen content from the prequels and the original trilogy. In addition, this timeframe would allow already existing characters to get more screen time and backstory, leading audiences to understand how some of their favorite characters came to be.
12. It would be set on Coruscant
The title Underworld was supposed to be a reference to one of the show’s most prominent locations, Coruscant. Featured considerably in the prequel trilogy, the show was going to delve into the deep underbelly of the planet’s criminal system, with a focus on gang members, bounty hunters, and all sorts of nefarious things.
Setting the show on Coruscant would have allowed the show to show a different side to the flourishing, vast planet that was home to the Jedi.
The Star Wars films have always been about good versus evil but the setting of Coruscant would have allowed the show to focus on more morally ambiguous characters that come off more like opportunistic anti-heroes than idealistic heroes who follow a strict code.
11. George Lucas Was very Hands-On
Say what you will about George Lucas and his writing abilities, but seeing as how he’s the godfather of the Star Wars universe, it makes sense to find out that he was very hands-on during the writing process. Lucas would often be in the room chiming in ideas for episodes and sequences that he wanted the show to tackle. Lucas also clarified any issues the writing staff had regarding what certain characters would and wouldn’t do.
One of the writers, Ronald D. Moore, fondly remembers arguing with George Lucas about what Darth Vader would do. Ultimately, Moore realized that he shouldn’t waste time arguing with the person who literally created the character out of nothing. After all, it’s his characters and world, therefore his rules.
10. There Were Going To Be Boba Fett Episodes
Focusing on both new and old characters, Underworld was going to tackle episodes based on Boba Fett a few years after his father’s death. Instead of painting him as the super cool bounty hunter we knew he would eventually become, the show would focus on his a mercenary attempting to get by just like the rest of the city’s outlaws.
Daniel Logan, who played Boba Fett in the prequels, was interested in reprising the role as he assumed it was pretty much a done deal. He began training with Darth Maul actor Ray Park as well, hoping to get in better shape when he appeared on the show.
9. We Were Going To See Han Meet Chewie & Lando Lose The Falcon
Long before Solo: A Star Wars Story, there were plans to introduce Han and Chewie in their prime on the small screen. Lucas and his team came up with ideas for how Han and Chewie met and were going to center an entire episode around their budding friendship.[/caption]
In addition to a Han and Chewie origin story, fans were going to see how Lando lost the fastest piece of junk in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon, to Han Solo. A majority of these ideas are going to be covered in the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story, but it’s pretty cool to know that George Lucas and his team were working on these ideas even before Disney bought the franchise for four billion dollars.
8. They Were Going To Make Us Root For The Emperor
Probably the most interesting origin story to come out of the show was an Emperor origin story that would’ve seen him as a heartbroken romantic. That’s right, one of the galaxy’s most heartless and cruel villains was really just a softie who had his heart broken.
Game director Cory Barlog, known for his work on God of War, read a few scripts and revealed that there was an episode that would have seen the Emperor as a guy who was in love with a gangster girl who left him heartbroken. She apparently did something to shatter him as a person, which eventually led to his turn to the dark side. Now that’s something every Star Wars fan would have loved to have seen.
7. The Writing Team Wrote 50 Scripts
Lucas originally envisioned the show to have 25-one hour long scripts to begin with, which would make 25 episodes. He envisioned each season to be about 25 episodes, which he thought would allow a wide variety of stories to be told over over time. However, as writing continued on the show, Lucas and co. realized there was tons of untapped potential.
With so many different people in the room, it meant that there were an insane amount of stories to be told. Realizing that it would be best to let their creativity flow, Lucas and the rest of the team threw the cap out of the window and ended up writing 50 scripts.
6. The Show Was Canned Because It Was Too Expensive
At the time of the show’s pre-production stage, television wasn’t the cultural beast it is today. In an age where television was considered second to going to the movies, the show simply couldn’t be produced due to its large price tag.
Network TV could have footed the bill, but the show’s episodes would have to be compromised due to content and length. On the other hand, premium cable outlets wouldn’t be able to pay for the episodes at the time – which also meant fewer people would have watched the show.
Each episode was expected to cost around $5 million and would have had to spend months in the post-production phase due to the CGI and resources that would be needed to make the show feel authentic. The show was eventually scrapped as to not compromise the vision Lucas and co had.
5. Darth Vader Was Going To Show Up
One of the most prominent characters in the franchise’s universe, Darth Vader was going to show up at certain points. Unlike the plot threads for Boba Fett, Han Solo & Chewie, and the Emperor, details on Vader’s appearance on the show are slim. Darth Vader was expected to show up in the show at some point as an antagonist.
Since he was an already established character, Lucas and co. knew they needed to make sure his arc made sense within the limitations of the show’s continuity.
Lucas and one of the writers famously had an issue regarding what Darth Vader would do in a certain scene, which clearly indicates that his inclusion in an episode would have been controversial. Whatever it was, hopefully, fans get to find out what exactly they were arguing about.
4. Disney Has Read The Scripts
When Disney purchased LucasFilm for four billion dollars in late 2012, the company got access to all projects under the brand, including the scripts for Underworld. Disney famously chose not to go ahead with Lucas’ storylines for Episode VII-IX, so it makes sense that they wouldn’t want to produce his $5 million per episode TV show, though they do have the money to pay for it.
However, with Disney launching its own streaming service in the future and with plans to release a variety of Star Wars TV shows, it would be delightful to see some of the ideas used in the show to be repurposed for future projects within the franchise.
3. The Show Was Set To Film In Australia
In the past few years, Australia has become a prime location for Hollywood to film some of its largest and mainstream tentpole films. Mostly due to higher tax incentives and a lot of talent coming from those neck of the woods, Australia has become a great playground for filmmakers.
However, Star Wars: Underworld was going to get on the Australia hype train before anybody else, as the show was set to film there, utilizing some of its best facilities. In fact, one of the writers, Matthew Graham, was going to head to Australia to help supervise production and help out in any way possible. However, as we all know, that day never came.
2. Rick McCullum Was The Show’s Executive Producer
Most people may not know who Rick McCullum is but they sure are familiar with his work within the Star Wars universe and the greater LucasFilm pantheon. McCullum and George Lucas’ relationship began back in the day when Lucas brought in McCullum to help produce The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. After that, Lucas asked McCullum to re-digitize the original Star Wars films, which would later become titled the Special Editions.
Enjoying working with him, McCullum also produced all three Star Wars prequels alongside Lucas. With the trilogy now finished, Lucas once again brought on McCullum to produce Underworld as he knew he would be the perfect fit for the tone of the show. Fans may criticize McCullum for his contribution to the Star Wars franchise, but he was a clear winner in George Lucas’ eyes.
1. Production Began As Soon As Revenge of the Sith Wrapped Up
George Lucas and Rick McCullum spent almost a decade creating the prequel trilogy. While they weren’t received as well as they would have hoped, it’s hard to deny the amount of work they put into creating a new chapter for the galaxy far, far away. Well, Star Wars: Underworld was going to be their return to the universe, with the working process beginning as soon as the final film in the trilogy hit theatres.
As soon as Revenge of the Sith was in theaters, Lucas and Rick began writing and assembling the writers’ room for the future show. They both clearly love the franchise and it speaks volumes that they began working on it as soon as they had just wrapped up a decade-long process of creating brand new content. In the end, the show never saw the light of day, but it is great to know George Lucas was working hard on the franchise he helped create and shape.
Would you have watched Star Wars: Underworld? Comment below and let us know!
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